by Angela Reeder
wife, mom, home education professor
Five year old girls can get really excited. Squealing-jumping-spinning-cheering kind of excited. Over seemingly (at least to me) small things. Things we might take for granted, they find reason to celebrate. For example, when Daddy comes home with groceries. Yes, groceries. My sweet 5 year old, Lizzie, makes the most joyful display of excitement over groceries! She loves a full pantry!
At four years old, she could go through the pantry and tell me which items needed replenished. She loved to help make a list for the next shopping trip. Sometimes, I do the shopping with the kids in tow, which she enjoys and happily helps with. BUT, have Daddy do the shopping, come home and walk into the kitchen weighed down by the provision, well, it's like Christmas morning! She loves seeing him walk in with it all. Her eyes light up, she cheers and starts going through the pile... "Oh, Daddy, you got grapes! And more apple juice! Liberty will be so happy!" She will continue moving items around and exclaiming in a cheerful voice, "And apples?! Nehemiah's favorite! And jalapeño chips for Ezekiel!?!" I get amazed. She makes it thrilling to get the groceries and put them away. She is EX.CIT.ED. Not just for what provision there is for her, but possibly even more so for that which her siblings love. She loves to know everyone is provided for.
Lizzie knows to write her requests, to make them known to her Daddy and then she anticipates their arrival. If she knows we are out of her brothers favorite cereal, she knows how to get more. How great it is to know what is needed and the one who can provide it! She is assured that Daddy will get it, he has before and he will again! Her heart doesn't even consider that it won't be replenished, that supply won't be there when needed. Her loving father has assured her that provision will be there.
The Love of our Good Father produces Hope, the assurance of His goodness prevailing, in our lives. Sons and daughters, have you ever looked into the "pantry" of your soul, of your life, and found some things needing replenished? Peace was running low? Or maybe mercy was in short supply? Did you run out of courage? Boldness? Maybe things were broken, even smashed beyond repair. Our Good Father is never without provision. He knows what you need before you even ask. He is gracious, good and perfect in all His ways. How thrilling is it?!? To know Him, to talk with Him, to trust Him! As your Father, He knows His sons and daughters will look to Him, ask of Him, seek Him and be excited at his provision. May you know the assurance of His goodness to the fullest measure!! May your "pantry" be full, full enough to share your provision with those who need it most! May your Hope-filled life reach beyond you and into the hearts of those around you - His provision is endless!! Let's celebrate!
by Matt Brown
Founder of RISEaboveLouisa
A wish says maybe, HOPE says definitely,
A wish says orphan, HOPE says son.
A wish says dead, HOPE says alive,
A wish says do better, HOPE says done.
A wish says broken, HOPE says whole,
A wish says strive, HOPE says rest.
A wish says tomorrow, HOPE says today,
A wish says not good enough, HOPE says best.
A wish says judged, HOPE says justified,
A wish says dirty, HOPE says clean.
A wish says "I love you if,".... HOPE says "I love you always"
A wish says me, me, me.... HOPE says Him, Him, Him.
In order to stay focused on HOPE, we must have a foundational understanding of what true biblical HOPE is...HOPE is the unconditional assurance that Father's goodness prevails. No matter what our current circumstances may "feel" like, God always has our best interest in mind.
We can continue to press on in the face adversity because we live from a position of HOPE. We are not those trying to reach victory, we are living in the present reality of victory. HOPE is right here, right now... not off in the future somewhere and only achievable if maybe, just maybe we behave well enough, pray enough, and ask for forgiveness enough...
Too often, we find ourselves focusing on the seen and not the unseen, the temporal and not the eternal. Let’s take a look at 2 Corinthians 17-18.
"For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever."
Paul is telling us to place our focus off of our troubles of today as they are fleeting. What we take as serious in our present lives will mean nothing whatever in the light of the eternal glory that lays ahead.
Just like the Samaritan woman at the well in John chapter 4.
Jesus said to her, “everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that i will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that i will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Too often we are controlled by what we think brings us relief, even if it is incorrect, even if it’s temporary relief. Our HOPE lies in the water that quenches all thirst. I heard a recovering alcoholic say “I didn’t stop drinking, I just changed wells.” Which well are you drinking from? Are you drinking from a well that still leaves you thirsty? Which well are you offering people water from?
Finally, we are a tri-part being, with our outer-shell being the flesh, the middle area is our soul which is made up of our mind, will, and emotions, and most finally (and most awesomely) the inner court made of the Spirit. If you can hear it like this… We are a spirit, we have a soul, we live in a body.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 says “And the very GOD of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray GOD your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
When we face adversity or temptation we remind ourself that we are not controlled by our flesh or our soul (our mind, will, or emotions) because these are all temporary things that will go whichever way the wind blows. Your flesh and soul is up and down like a roller coaster, but the spirit is steady. THE SPIRIT IS LIKE AN ANCHOR, STEADY AT ALL TIMES.
When we are able to see life from this perspective, we should stop and thank God for giving us the ability to recognize that we are not controlled by our flesh or our soul, but we are controlled by a steady, anchored Spirit.
May you enjoy living out HOPE and bask in the victory that was created for us before the foundation of the world!!!
by John Paul Sprecher
Leader and Founder of iloveyouson.org , Malachi Miracle Movement, and YoungLions
Jesus... is there anything He did not do or give to you and I? The cost of His life, and the riches and inheritance bestowed to us because of it, would make the wealthiest billionaire gasp in awe. That said, I believe that there is one piece of that inheritance, one revelation at the core of His deposit to humanity that is too little realized or received - The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has released the fullness of Father's Love back into the world again!
"And I have declared to them Your Name (Father) and will declare it, that the love with which You (Father) loved Me (Son) may be in them and I in them... I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you." John 17:26 & 14:18.
The world-renowned, unmatched finished work of Jesus has allowed the Holy Spirit to now live inside people. This changes everything. Holy Spirit allows Father to come straight to us and "Father" our spirits, souls and bodies into complete health and fullness. Holy Spirit allows the majestic, unequalled perfect Father of all the universe and creation to claim us as His very own daughter and son. Holy Spirit allows Him to teach us from His lap on His throne, and to sustain us with every piece of His strength and resource. No more does an oppressed and accursed humanity have to trudge through their time on earth alone. There is Good News! There is massive HOPE found in the Father's love. Friends, I believe the Holy Spirit beckons us now to the Father's "fathering"! There is no past Father cannot redeem. There is no present Father cannot fix. There is no future Father cannot intervene and invade. Hope is really here because "Daddy's back!"
by Janet Henry
I’ve lived long seasons of my life striving to prove my importance. The days of performing, being fully aware of what I’m capable of and pushing to show it; operating in excellence and nothing being good enough but the absolute best…the subtle un-fulfillment would begin to throb a little more and more after the final “t” is crossed and the performance comes to a brilliant end. Something was off. Everyone tells you how amazing of a job you did. You sit back and soak it all in, proud of your work. It’s a beautiful representation of you and the gifts God has given you. But it’s over. The air is let out of your sails and you begin thinking about the next thing you plan to pour your life into because you can’t just enjoy life, the moment, your friends, yourself. Your future depends on what you accomplish, your value is in your purpose, and in the story of your life and what you’re supposed to become.
It can, at times, be a ton of fun and there’s nothing wrong with working hard, except for when the world starts to crumble around you, and your value is found in that which is falling. That my friend is a yucky place to live!! When you’ve lived there and go through the process of getting free, letting the truth sink deep into your heart that your value is solely in who you are and WHOSE you are, can be a process. But that’s where freedom is found. And the freedom that comes from that can also come with a strong will to protect it. I don’t particularly like the feeling that I’m expected to show what I have to offer, who does? Especially if I get the sense that someone would like to see me perform so they can determine if I’m worth an investment...of time, love, etc. The Lord spoke to me one day recently when I felt like I was being challenged to prove myself. He said “You are 100% valuably designed by ME, and there are certain facets of that value that will only be encountered by those who seek out and discover the precious jewel that it is.” There are times, like for a job interview or in HEALTHY relationships that you show what you have to offer and it’s fulfilling because it comes with a valuable exchange. Mind you, you’re value is still not in your job, the money or in another person. But during those times where there is a sense of manipulation or control, go ahead and step off of that stage of striving to perform, because you have nothing to prove.
I saw a post the other day by a well-known pastor and it began with “How do you get God’s attention?” I have no idea what his answer was because I couldn’t stop thinking about that question. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t “you’ve already got it”. No, it was more like “do this, then do that”. And that may have rung true with me a while back but when we’re resting in God’s goodness, we’re fully aware that we already have our Father’s attention. “Before you were born, the days fashioned for you were written when as yet there were none of them.” Not only did we already have his attention, He wrote our story and set out to pursue a life with us by eliminating all possible breaches that could come between us and Him. You see, a diamond never has to waive a flag to get anyone’s attention or perform to prove its value. IT JUST IS!
The beautiful thing is, unlike a diamond, it’s our imperfections that make us even more valuable, relatable…even pursuable by God! A friend of mine said a phrase this past week “I want to live a messy, imperfect, authentic life as I pursue the One who pursues me”. “People are longing for authenticity. What has to die is the leader who acts like he or she has it all together: the plastic veneer we put on hoping no one sees the real us.” -Carey Nieuwhof. People can sense fake and they can feel if you’re trying to fix them, it feels judgmental. They can relate to genuine and messy and imperfect authenticity. That is where healing, deliverance, restoration and transformation will come from. And taking it a step further, it’s Jesus who in our imperfections saw us worthy to pursue us and makes us perfect in Him!! #mindblown
by Chris McKelvey
Founder of Fire Starter Ministries
Servant- A person who performs duties for others. A devoted and helpful follower or supporter.
Leadership- The action of leading a group of people or an organization.
Why do we say servant leadership and not just say leadership? According to Matthew 20:26 (New Living Translation), "....whosoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant. "
Others must see us as servants to the Master and to them before they will ever take on the tasks towards a vision. We can cast a vision all day, but until we "walk the talk", it can be a long lonely road.
The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply into the present. Connecting is investing. As we invest, connect, and serve people the Father brings our way, we cast the vision and help navigate them towards the reality of their gifts and talents being significant in building His Kingdom on Earth, as it is in Heaven.
When Eric first talked to me about the RISEmovement months ago, I told him God was forming a masterpiece. Leadership is the art of inspiring a community to achieve a vision. Bigger the vision, bigger the art piece; forming a masterpiece. Imagine that the canvas is the vision, our paint brushes are our servant leadership skills, and the different paints are the people the Father has brought beside us to accomplish the masterpiece. As a servant leader, God has given us a vision and it is up to us to discern when to use small strokes or large strokes. We need to discern if and when certain colors need to mix to enhance the piece because certain giftings work well together.
There are a lot of leaders, but not many servant leaders. For many are called, but few are chosen. In closing, I leave you with this thought...
There are a lot of painters, but who wants to be an artist for the masterpiece of the kingdom?
by Eric Reeder
It’s amazing that over and over again we get to see the picture of Father as the one who comes toward us and pursues us. He's never interested in leaving us in our situations or in an ordinary life just doing what is needed to get by. Jesus is the revelation of Father, and we ongoingly see His heart is to have us with Him. He isn’t looking to push us away or leave us out on the waters of life striving to make it.
Jesus came and got these men that were out doing what they could to bring in a livelihood and fix things the best they could. They were going about their ordinary day and Jesus invites them into the extraordinary. When they heard that they were wanted, they dropped what life had been and turned (repented) toward a life with Jesus. Jesus conveyed the good heart of Father and it awakened them to a new life. Not just a life of different activities, but a life settled on the reality that they were wanted, purposed, and invited into something more.
Powerful, life changing moments happen as the goodness of Father is seen; hearts turn, ordinary moments fill with extraordinary impact, and the course of life is no longer about what you achieve but who you are. When Jesus called His disciples, He showed us Father’s heart that is for us and after us and not willing to leave us floating along or tangled up in brokenness. He is always coming toward us with goodness and hope.
See Him, hear Him, and go with Him in any ordinary moment to experience the extraordinary.
photo credit: Kaitlyn Hickey
by Eric Reeder
Follow this as I connect dots....
Jesus was asked, "who is the greatest in the Kingdom"? (Matt 18:1)
This is the question of an orphan nature. The orphan heart is always longing to know its value and is insecure in their status. It's the ongoing battle most live out. Am I good enough, am I important, am I better than them? We can secretly think, "I know I'm better than they are". Compare. Compete. Strive to gain a sense of recognition and worth. It's the "king of the hill" lifestyle - having the need to be seen as better than others and get the credit.
Jesus' reply came from the nature as the Son. His reply wouldn't speak to their question of status. He replied to the reality of their position.....
Key definitions in Matt 18:3-4. Then I'll put it all together:
* turn = repent / change how you're approaching this
* child = young person, but we can easily connect to this "a son"
* humble = reduce your need for status based on what you can obtain
* greatest = to age, eldest / see this as mature
* enter = come into maturity of who you are in Father's heart (sons / sons of the Kingdom)
* kingdom = His place of rule - His rule comes from His heart / His heart is the source of His kingdom (son of His heart / You came from His heart)
Jesus spoke to their/our position in Father's heart that came from His goodness to have us there not our ability to obtain being there.
This is what causes us to abandon the orphan nature and fully live in the secure reality that we are His and there is NO higher status/greatness.
Those in Christ, of His Kingdom, in Father's heart are all sons at the highest position. Therefore there is no one "greater".
by Pastor Mark Wargo
Lead Pastor at Cross Current Church, Port Huron, MI
Author of "Beyond Betrayal - No More Broken Churches"
To me, being called by Father to lead His church is the greatest privilege and honor. If you are a church leader in any capacity, you probably understand what I’m saying. You probably realize you have been called to a big task. But if we are honest, sometimes the bigness or value placed on the task can be viewed through the lens of the size of the church or ministry. We can lose sight of the fact that God places value on the purpose, not numerical size. Here’s the truth – God doesn’t care if it’s a church or ministry of a five thousand, a thousand, or fifty. The importance is still the same to Him. Several years ago, while in the midst of the worst ministry storm of my life, I learned many important lessons that forever changed the way I lead. One of which I will share with you today:
1. Be Uniquely You-
You are unique! You have been created for the now! God is a God of the ‘I am”. He is present and fully engaged in you. I’m sure this is not the first time you have heard this. Heck, you have probably even preached it several times. But in my experience, most or all of church leaders have to wrestle this truth down.
I like to go to conferences, seminars, listen to podcasts. I love to learn from other leaders, but in my early years, I fell into the trap of copying what other successful leaders have done, especially when I wasn’t seeing much success! I would take what I learned and bring it home only to run into unsuccessful results. I figured if it worked for them, then it must work for me. Many times, the lack of success caused me to spiral into feelings of inadequacies, feelings of failure and illegitimacy. Now as I look back, I believe the reason I had no to little success was because Father wanted to birth something unique out of the uniqueness within me. I believe He desires to do the same in and through you. There is nothing wrong with learning from others, I still do that today from pastors around the nation, but we can’t abort our own uniqueness for the sake of achieving the forever moving target of ‘success’.
So here is my encouragement to all the church leaders reading this:
Lastly, when you allow for your uniqueness to shine, you will one more time reveal the awesome creativity of Father!
Pastor Mic Cox of The Anchor Church in Parkersburg, WV is recording short audio clips to share exciting insight of Biblical Hope. This link takes you to RISEmovement's SoundCloud to hear this from Pastor Mic. Enjoy!
Theology of HOPE pt 1 SoundCloud audio
by Elexio Baillou
Founder of PAGA
Author of "The ABC's of Prophecy"
Itinerant Conference Speaker
Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas
Be advised that we presently live within an era in which the Body of Christ is shifting from an escapist mentality into that of kingdom dominion and progression. This kind of transformational paradigm and movement is being perpetuated first and foremost by the Lord Jesus Christ through the person of His Holy Spirit into the hearts and minds of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers.
In this hour we are watching as the power of the finished work of Jesus Christ is being made known to God’s people who are in turn slowly but surely accepting new truths that were once hidden to them by centuries of religious dogma and lies. Such revelations are thankfully being espoused by men and women committed to teaching, preaching, and demonstrating the truth, the whole truth, and NOTHING but the truth.
Such a movement in and of itself is undoubtedly divine in origin and proof positive of the Sovereign’s hand in directing His body forward through His 5-fold leadership. For He has predetermined that new truths, revelations, and dispensations of His power be expressed in and through such a corporate community, who functioning as the fingers of God are able to cast out demonically ingrained ideologies and paradigms established through socialization, education, and just “good ole” demonic possession so that the Kingdom of God (His rule and reign) can be established within the hearts and mind of those who hear. (Luke 11:20).
Therefore, the question now becomes how does what God’s Spirit is speaking to the Church in an era end up taking room and finding manifestation in the lives of His people so that they end up showcasing what He is speaking.
Apostles: Typically God will raise up an individual or a conglomerate of individuals who are called to function as crusaders or pioneers with the express commission to preach, teach, establish works, and disciple specific communities of people in a revelation that the Lord has given them. This my friends is more so than simply a powerful truth but rather a new perspective and paradigm that typically changes the way in which those who end up following them live and function. Because Apostles are the trailblazers with such revelations, they tend to be labeled heretics, false prophets, antichrists and the like by both the world and especially the Body of Christ who more so than not would rather fight against what the Lord Jesus Christ has ordained would manifest than see for themselves if in fact these Ambassadors are in fact of the Lord and assigned by Him to declare to them what was once hidden from them. Nevertheless despite the opposition that they face, you can be assured that most Apostles are willing to die for their commission and will continue along in their commissions with or without the support of the masses, which interestingly enough tend to turn towards what they are speaking. This is because those loyal to religious lies and deceptions and those who have perpetuated the same fear the exposure of their faulty beliefs and would many times rather give themselves to preserving their platforms and popularity even if it meant fighting against the Lord Himself and His representatives. Yet, Apostles many times are unable to be dissuaded from their assignments within a particular metron (measure of rule) and draw to themselves a community of individuals of like minds and passions. That is, Apostles draw those assigned to their commissions. This community of individuals who show up then become disciple in the Apostle’s doctrine (measure of revelation) and if in fact they are called into the 5-fold ministry as other Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers, you can be assured that the expression of administrations will without a shadow of a doubt be tainted and colored by what God has spoken to them through the Apostle who has unfolded to them the mystery or mysteries given to them. Thus we end up with a commission team who stand and function in a supportive capacity to ensure the perpetuation of what God has declared should be made manifested in His Church. Apostles then would then typically undertake the monumental task of manifesting their Apostleship within the context of the revelation given to them and showcase fully their administrations as a means of bringing credibility to themselves as God’s Ambassadors and ensuring that those formerly not colonized now begin to live in a way congruent with their commission.
Prophets: Gifted and skilled to work alongside God’s Apostles, Prophets once activated, awakened, and disciple in God’s truth through that Apostle now make it their aim to one ensure the longevity and safety of that Apostle’s commission and their work through utilizing their watchman capacity and capabilities to assist, advise, and co-labor with that Apostle. Their prophecies, insights, and revelations typically become attuned to the commission of that “sent One” until it becomes their lifelong mandate to ensure that what God has spoken to that Apostle comes to pass. Therefore, through the application and manifestation of their prophetic skill and strength they will pray, prophesy, activate, and deliver entire bodies of people into their pre-ordained and assigned places within the commission of that Apostle until all who have been assigned to their “ward” are manifesting the prophetic words and insights given by that Prophet whose prophecies are meant to serve the commission of that Apostle.
Therefore, typically their prayers, prophetic utterances, perspectives, revelations will all possess the “edge” of the commission of that Apostle, and like Moses the Great Prophet of Israel delivered the Israelites into their Canaan, so will the Prophet serve many times to deliver God’s people into the fullness of what that Apostle or Apostles were speaking of previously.
Evangelists: Demonstrating zeal and passion, Evangelists groomed and baptized in the perspectives and revelations of God’s Apostles serve to call all who would be saved into the Kingdom through the Word of God given by His Apostle or Apostles. Their preaching and teaching, even focus groups are meant to call and cause those whom God would have to be saved and apart of the fruit of that Apostle’s commission. They announce to the unbelieving and remind those who are saved and likely unmotivated and hopeless of what Jesus has promised to them by His Apostles and what He will do in and through their lives. The convincing and convicting power of their words when backed by Holy Spirit presence and power typically can lead to many joining the community being disciple and dispersed according to the revealed mysteries given in the Apostle’s doctrine resulting in joy, liberty, freedom and kingdom progression.
Pastor: Possessing compassion and great care for God’s household, Pastors are wise and trustworthy stewards who serve to show compassion and watch over those led to the Lord through His evangelists (many times) and work diligently to ensure that they are protected from unscrupulous individuals who would devour those belonging to the household of faith and steer them from wandering of into ungodly ideologies and guiding them back into the household of faith if they become hopeless or once again drunk in the world’s lifestyle and methodology. Though many times considered insignificant in compassion to the Apostles and Prophets, Pastors play a crucial role in feeding and caring for God’s people. For He would have it to be so that those who manifest His truth be physically, emotionally, and spiritually whole, and as we all should know at this juncture, Pastors bear a deep burden of responsibility to shepherd God’s people and do best within the context of the revelations espoused by His Apostles.
Teachers: Every truth and every concept must at some point take on flesh and find its application in the lives of the hearers. Thus, the agents given this weighty task and responsibility are God’s Teachers. Working in tandem with the other administrations, Teachers will and do serve to make sense of heavenly truths and concepts until they are both palatable and earthly in their application. They ensure that the integrity of God’s Word spoken by His Apostles is true, credible, verifiable, and sensible so that God’s people can in fact do something with the many times deeply profound and all impacting Word presented to them. They ensure that God’s people are not simply overwhelmed by the revelations given by the Apostles, awed by the accuracy of the Prophets, stirred by the preaching of the Evangelists, and comforted by the care of the Pastors, but are able to comprehend what God actually MEANT in their everyday lives when He spoke and what they must now do as citizens of God’s Kingdom under the leadership of that Apostle who was commissioned to empower them to advance the Kingdom, that Prophet who was assigned to prophesy their advancement in that commission, that Evangelist who was assigned to bring them into that commission, and the Pastor who was assigned to ensure their well-being in that commission.
As you can very well tell from my writings, the key to bringing this altogether and ensuring that God’s Kingdom and His present truths are continually manifested in the world in which we live is in fact the Apostle and their commission. Their role is pivotal and can be compared to that of a steering wheel as it determines where the entire car (Church) is headed and how in fact as a body it moves. Do understand that is it not my intention to glorify and “enthrone” any administration and Officer of God’s Kingdom more than the next but to ensure the orderly arrangement of things, including His people so that what He has decided would be manifested in the lives of His people comes into fruition without the unnecessary hindrances and problems we have dealt with in past seasons. As well, to ensure that we finally MATURE as the BODY of Christ, not only preaching the message of the Kingdom but rather exuding the Kingdom.
Eric Reeder is joined by other leaders of RISEmovement to reveal the heartbeat of The HOPE-filled Gospel.